On Feb. 17, during daily chapel at The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) International Center (IC) in St. Louis, Nathan M. Haak was installed as the Synod’s treasurer and chief financial officer (CFO).
He replaces Jerald C. (Jerry) Wulf, who retired in 2020 after serving in the position for nine years. As CFO, Haak will manage the Synod’s $62.7 million operating budget and oversee all areas of the Synod’s finances, including accounts receivable, cash receipts, general and cost accounting, internal audit, budgeting and corporate insurance.
Prior to joining the staff of the IC, Haak served in a variety of roles at Emerson Electric. Most recently, he was director of Global Financial Planning and Analysis, where he was responsible for the financial planning and analysis of a $1 billion global business unit of the company. Haak holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting and a master’s degree in accounting, both from Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo. He also has an Executive MBA from Washington University in St. Louis.
Haak’s father-in-law, the Rev. Dr. Scott Murray, preached for the installation service on Matthew 20:1–19, the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard. Murray, who serves as LCMS third vice-president and senior pastor of Memorial Lutheran Church, Houston, contrasted the need for accurate accounting and careful stewardship of limited resources in the earthly realm with the infinite storehouse of God’s provision and grace. “God would be a poor accountant,” Murray said. “He gives away the whole heavenly treasury to those who do not deserve it. … This is very poor business practice.”
“Here we see the difference between the two kingdoms,” Murray continued, “and perhaps a little bit about where those two kingdoms meet each other. … Being a steward of the church’s gifts is really a function of the kingdom of the left, but we use this good management so that the overwhelming gifts of God … [and] the very righteousness of Jesus Christ can be proclaimed out into the world.
“So it is that the CFO of the Synod … needs to be as wise as a serpent and as innocent as a dove. Wise for the sake of the things of the world … but innocent for the sake of the things of God.”
Haak began serving at the IC in January. Of his first few months on the job, he said, “It’s been a challenging, engaging and fulfilling transition. I’ve been blessed to have received a warm welcome from everyone I’ve met here at the IC and across the other entities.
“While I enjoyed my time at Emerson, the opportunity to work in an environment with fellow believers, attend daily chapel and contribute to the advancement of the Gospel has been an immense blessing. While there will certainly be bumps in the road, I pray that the Lord will guide me in this endeavor to faithfully serve Him and steward the resources that have been entrusted by His church to us.”
Haak was installed by the Rev. Dr. Michael Kumm, chairman of the LCMS Board of Directors. Kumm said, “The Board is very pleased to welcome Nathan as our CFO. He brings a plethora of talent and a wide range of experience to lead our accounting division. We are looking forward to Nathan’s leadership and experience as we continue to faithfully serve the church at large in the wise and prudent use of the gifts God entrusts to us.”
LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison said, “We are tremendously thankful for Nathan’s strong Lutheran convictions and great financial skills. He’s the right man for the task and the moment.”
Haak was born in Chicago and spent some of his formative years in St. Louis, where his father was a Lutheran school teacher. He has served the church in various ways, including as a member of the Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Ill., Board of Regents. Haak and his wife, Hilary, have three young children: Adelin, Lydia and Elijah.
Posted March 31, 2022